[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/freelancer_7668.jpg]]

-> '''Liberty Bartender''': ''To your good fortune in Liberty, sir.''
-> '''Trent''': ''[[TemptingFate Well, it can't get any worse.]]''

'''Freelancer''' is a game created by Microsoft Games and Digital Anvil, specifically by Chris Roberts, and is the SpiritualSuccessor to ''Privateer'', a spinoff of his previous franchise ''VideoGame/WingCommander'', as well as a sequel to ''{{Starlancer}}''. The game itself is... well, probably the best way to catalog this game is as a "space shooter trading RPG".

In the 23rd century, Humanity was caught in an apparently endless war between two factions within the Solar System: TheAlliance and [[TheEmpire the Coalition]]. After more than 100 years of uninterrupted war, the Alliance, on the verge of massive defeat, is so goddamn hell-bent on not surrendering before the Coalition, it spends massive resources as its last hope for survival: sending five huge spaceships filled with [[HumanPopsicle Human Popsicles]] to the Sirius system, far away from the conflict that separated Humankind for all these years.

Eight hundred years later, Humanity is thriving in the far-away Sirius sector, divided into four countries or "houses", each named after the spaceships that brought them there: Liberty (USA), Bretonia (United Kingdom), Rheinland (Germany) and Kusari (Japan); the fifth ship, the ''Hispania'' ([[{{Spexico}} Spain and Mexico]]), [[TheMissingFaction was lost in transit to Sirus]], [[SpacePirates but its impact is still felt on the sector]]. A couple of conflicts have managed to erupt, but overall, the whole system is in peace.

Enter young pilot Edison Trent, a mechanician apprentice from Planet Leeds who, enthralled by all the massive wealth found on the Border Worlds, leaves his repair shop and goes out on a journey for "the deal of his lifetime". After a couple of months of hardships, he finally manages to score a deal for 1 million credits for a ton of boron. But guess what? Just when Trent managed to close the deal at the Freeport 7 station, two mysterious spaceships suddenly appear out of thin space and destroy the station. Trent barely manages to make it to an escape pod, which leaves him drifting in outer space. He is rescued and taken to Planet Manhattan. From there, he manages to land a job at the Liberty Security Forces.

However, things are starting to get really, really weird. Alien Artifacts, previously nothing but highly expensive pieces of ancient art, are suddenly banned on Liberty. Survivors of the Freeport 7 attack and those connected to them start to go missing, the Rheinlandic chancellor is suddenly getting very reckless in his diplomatic relationships with the other houses even as Rheinland is found to be involved in many strange activities, and Trent and his friends are completely sure an enormous conspiracy is going on. Will Trent manage to expose the mystery before it's too late?

The general concept of ''Freelancer'' is a WideOpenSandbox combined with a space shooter and an RPG. You can take any sort of job you want with any faction you want, you can just sit down and gather a lot of valuable resources, you can buy low and sell high at many stations, or you can raid corporate convoys and steal their stuff. There's also a main storyline, which leaves you with a highly powerful ship after clearing it (not to mention all the intrigue involved), but there's also a multiplayer mode where you can take missions along with anyone on the server. So, it's a game that can be finished quickly, or take a really long time, and even has a game time counter that shows how long the game's been played total.

Technically and gameplay-wise speaking, ''Freelancer'' is possibly the best showcase of why [[AcceptableBreaksFromReality breaks from reality are so acceptable]] - the most glaringly obvious being the way outer space is presented. The game takes place in a {{Two-D Space}}, and the sense of scale is enormously distorted, but trust me, when you sit down and play the real thing, the game is, all in all, ''good enough to just make you [[MST3KMantra not think about that]]''. It also manages to make space feel huge and epic while remaining surprisingly compact.

''Freelancer'' is also notable for using a very friendly control scheme, which lets you fly around your ship with the mouse ([[LoveItOrHateIt at the complete expense of joystick support]]), a couple of basic commands, and an easy-to-use HUD. As for the graphics, they're a little bit dated, but the game quickly makes up for it thanks to its beautiful nebulous backgrounds, its aesthetics and its camera effects. ''Freelancer'' is itself a very fun, very entertaining game, and with its apparently immortal aesthetics, its natural and straightforward control scheme and its excellently written storyline, and even despite its {{Vaporware}} development cycle, it still stands today as a living example of excellent game design. Rumor has it that the original design was far more detailed than the final product, including six different endings.

----
!!This game provides examples of:

* AbsentAliens: There are aliens, the most common being a microorganism that can metabolize some elements into carbon dioxide and oxygen. Also, there are a plethora of species native to Sirius. Planet Gaia, this game's equivalent to a planetary Garden of Eden, has more alien species than any other planet in the game.
** As for sentient alien species, ancient artifacts constructed by long-dead aliens are extremely valuable, but governments have recently started to crack down on them. [[spoiler: Said long-dead aliens have also left behind a legacy that is very much alive in the form of the Nomads.]]
* AcceptableBreaksFromReality: Blatant enough to make you realize that ultimate realism doesn't fit well in a video game. Transit times are already a bit of a pain. Realistic scale would be orders of magnitude worse. And good gravy, if hitting asteroids and space junk were handled realistically, you'd have to be a dodging master to even play.
** Except that asteroids and space debris aren't quite thickly sown amidst the void of interplanetary space.
* ActionGirl: [[spoiler:Liberty President Jacobi blasts a Nomad that's about to try to take over Trent during one of the single-player campaign's last few missions. She also handles being tortured pretty well, apparently.]]
** Juni, just Juni. She's a high-rank LSF officer with a ship you can't find anywhere else and knows how to kick ass and take names.
* AdamSmithHatesYourGuts: Averted, especially when you gain access to [[spoiler:Order equipment.]]
** And then played straight. If your reputation with the owners of the station is bad, they won't sell anything besides the crappier equipment. In this case, Adam Smith may not hate your guts, but the guy at the cash register ''does.''
* AllianceMeter: Provides the trope picture. A hostile faction will attack on sight and deny you landing permission on their bases; a neutral faction will ignore you in space but might assist allies who hate you, and will let you land but might not sell you their best stuff or offer you missions; and a [[HundredPercentHeroismRating friendly]] faction will assist you in combat against anyone they're not allied with, sell you their best stuff and offer you more rewarding missions. In addition, being friendly to a pirate faction stops them from demanding cargo from you.
* AllPlanetsAreEarthlike: Planet Manhattan, Planet Gaia and Planet Cambridge are but three good examples. Many of the other planets fall into SingleBiomePlanet territory.
** This trope is averted on a few occasions. The Outcasts landed on what they thought was an Earth-like planet, but in reality it was [[spoiler:a world so saturated with a narcotic that leaving without being drugged up on it killed them]]. Another planet in the same system looks very Earthlike, but is completely inundated, right down to the last organism, with an atmosphere that is toxic to humans. No relation whatsoever to [[{{Film/Avatar}} this]], though.
* AmazonBrigade: The Golden Chrysanthemums, [[spoiler:not so]] surprisingly a terrorist organization and {{Straw Feminist}}s to a small extent.
* AntiGrinding: Up until level 20, you must complete a storyline mission to level up beyond odd levels.
** And then you must gain a level [[ZigZaggingTrope before you're given the next storyline mission]].
* ArtificialAtmosphericActions: Played with (painfully) scripted NPC dialog as well as (well done) NPC ships going back and forth, leaving from a base and then docking somewhere else while constantly chattering over the radio.
* AsteroidThicket: Many of them, some of them mineable. A rather sizeable proportion of asteroid thickets in this game are ''massive'' junk fields, which can be mined for scrap metal and serve as hiding places for criminals. Also, ''[[AerialCanyonChase bouncing off an asteroid]]'' is a valid strategy for escaping missiles, as the sharp turn causes them to lose their lock on you.
* {{Badass}}: [[spoiler:Casper Orillion]]. He [[spoiler:founded The Order, which ultimately]] saved everyone in the Sirius Sector [[spoiler:from being cleansed by the Nomads and stole the Battleship Osiris from Liberty's highest-security shipyards]]. He makes King, the self-proclaimed badass (in the Bonus DVD's character vignettes), look like a wuss.
** He's good, make no mistake about that, but he isn't [[OneManArmy Trent]].
** Von freaking Claussen. He's a veteran Rheinland pilot who's flown many successful missions without losing a single wingman. At least, that's what Trent says in his log.
* BadassBoast: Ozu makes one during the single-player campaign. See the PreAssKickingOneLiner example below for more generic examples.
--> '''Ozu:''' ''The [[spoiler:Blood Dragons]] are small in number, Jun'ko, but they are the best fighter pilots in the colonies.''
* BadassGrandpa: Given his age, his status as Prefect of the Honshu System, and his numerous contacts within Kusari, Rheinland, [[spoiler:the Blood Dragons and The Order]], Lord Hakkera can arguably qualify as this.
** Tobias might be this as well. He's a retired Bretonia Armed Forces pilot who made a humble living as the owner of the Leeds Equipment Dealer and had apprenticed Trent prior to the story. When he comes to your rescue when you have to flee Bretonia, it looks like his piloting skills haven't changed a bit.
* BaldBlackLeaderGuy: [[spoiler:Orillion]].
* BaldOfAwesome: King, Dr. Quintaine, and [[spoiler: Orillion]]
* BattleshipRaid: Three missions in which you have to knock out a large base's shield generators. One of them even has you fly inside.
* TheBattlestar: All battleships in the game serve as both powerful space cannons and fighter-launching platforms. However, it is slightly justified in that fighters in this game are practically independent, so landing on a battleship is apparently only for storage between battles and/or maintenance (which is what the player uses those battleships for, most of the time).
* BeeHiveBarrier: The Class 9 and 10 shields have this for the visual effect when the ships using them are hit.
* {{BFG}}: The Liberty Cruiser mounts a ridiculously large forward cannon that delivers heavy damage to anything it hits. Even a battleship approximately double in size and thrice as strong will start to buckle after about half a minute of continuous fire from it.
* BigBad: Rheinland Chancellor Niemann [[spoiler:is not this but about as close as you get to one in spite of having what amounts to a walk-on role in person and being dead for quite some time by then, as "he"]] is the main face behind [[spoiler:both the supposed enemy,]] Rheinland, [[spoiler:and the ''real'' enemy, the Nomads]].
* BigDamnHeroes: Lots of them. Among others, [[spoiler: Trent, Juni, King and Walker arrive just in time to save President Jacobi from being taken over by an alien. Then Jacobi stops it from taking over Trent by shooting it with a {{BFG}}.]]
** Navy Cruiser Captain Marcus Walker. You work with him early on to crack down on the pirates, and he goes missing shortly after [[spoiler:he has actually gone into hiding with the rest of his group]]. He also intervenes and saves you and Juni during [[spoiler:the initial flight from Liberty. See also GunshipRescue]].
* BigNo: Herr von Claussen does this once, right after [[spoiler:Klaus Botzler's HeroicSacrifice]]. The occasional NPC also does this when their ship disintegrates.
** Juni gets at least two while witnessing her friends die.
* BlackAndGrayMorality: Most of the factions have some sort of just cause or justification for their actions (even if only they perceive it as such) and are at the same time committing some sort of injustice against one or more other factions. For instance, the Mollys fight for independence from an exploitative Bretonia, but are doing so by attacking and killing practically anyone flying around Bretonian space. Even the Corsairs have some justification for their actions—they got screwed over when their colony ship went to pieces, and don't have much choice but to steal whatever other factions are producing. A few factions are completely corrupt (such as Hogosha and Samura, though Samura has employees who are basically innocent). This of course only pertains to everything ''outside the campaign storyline'' (see below).
* BlackAndWhiteMorality: In the campaign storyline, where morality issues are eventually put aside because [[spoiler:mankind is on the verge of annihilation anyway]], there's a more clear line between who's "right" and who's "wrong", but for the most part the ones who are wrong are simply [[spoiler:under the control of aliens seeking to destroy mankind]].
* BountyHunter: They have a whole organization of these guys. It's called the [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Bounty Hunters Guild]].
* BreakableWeapons: [[CaptainObvious Once your shields are depleted, enemy shots will impact your ship directly.]] Radiation damage will also do likewise, except that it completely bypasses shields. If a portion of your ship, such as the fins of a Titan, or even a weapon or the countermeasure dropper you mount, takes sufficient damage, it will break away and disintegrate into nothing. Bad call if there's a Class-10 CERBERUS mounted there, because you will ''[[LostForever permanently lose that weapon]]''. The upside to this is that computer ships aren't spared from this either, so if you hit them hard enough, they may lose a fin with a weapon or component attached, thus reducing their offensive and/or defensive capabilities. The disadvantage of this, however, is that you might be less likely to get weapon drops.
* BrickJoke: Sidewinder Fang and Liberty Ale are both mentioned at the start and end of the singleplayer campaign. In Trent's Neural Net Log, he occasionally mentions about drinking throughout the campaign.
* BrokenBridge: Played by not giving you the access codes to the inter-system Jump Gates at the beginning. There's also a few jump holes that become phase-aligned only after completing missions during the single-player campaign. At the other end of the spectrum, the jump holes and gates to mission systems like Tohoku and Alaska go dead after you complete the storyline. Taking this to a head is an area of the Omicron Beta system visited during the storyline, which [[GameplayAndStorySegregation does not exist in the actual system]].
** Although the Omicron Major and Minor Jump Holes are said to be in Omicron Beta, that Omicron Beta is only visited in the story, and cannot be found in the post-story Omicron Beta.
* ButThouMust: One mission describes the task as a "[[TimedMission suicide mission]]". This is one of a handful of dialogue boxes where there is only an "Accept" button....
-->'''King''' (after the mission): Next time, listen to your old pal King [[LampshadeHanging and say no]].
** The next mission is "also a suicide mission". You can't say no to that one, either. Of course, Trent is supposed to have transitioned from considering RefusalOfTheCall to [[JumpedAtTheCall Jumping At The Call]] (or at least being ResignedToTheCall) by that point in the story.
* ButtMonkey: The Xenos. Nobody likes them, nobody takes them quite seriously and they use the weakest ships and equipment in the game.
** Trent himself has shades of this. Over the course of the game he's been shot at, hit by a stun baton, falsely accused of numerous crimes...hell, he's taken more abuse than any other character in the game! All he wants is the million credits his "friend" owes him and a good drink, both of which he never gets.
* ContinuityPorn: Rather interesting in-game example: All four houses wildly follow historical traditions, even those who are now abandoned and the ones that were not always particulary positive. For motivating colonists and giving them nationalistic boost founders of colonies delibarately turned them to continuity porn states, even when it meant repeating mistakes which USA, Great Britain, Japan and Germany made.
** USA has been turned into Liberty: a strictly capitalist society with Art Deco as well as crime and poverty everywhere except the shining cities of the rich.
** Britain is once again stuck in bureaucracy. The Bretonia sector is nothing less than a sci-fi version of Victorian industrial Britain. Environmental pollution, poverty and companies exploiting their employees but also scientific breakthroughs, Lords and nobles, typical Bobby hats, and bad weather in the capital planet of (New) London. Every building is build in a pseudo-Victorian style mixed with SteamPunk designs. They even have an IRA-{{Expy}} group fighting for the liberation of the Dublin system.
** Japan's counterpart Kusari is once again a strict monarchy, governed by the Shogun. Highly nationalistic and isolated society, with samurai statues everywhere and cutting edge technology.
** German Rheinland is literally ImperialGermany and the WeimarRepublic RecycledINSPACE
* [[TheCallKnowsWhereYouLive The Call Knows Where You Work]]: Trent gets dragged into the main plot kicking and screaming by this. There's the obvious attack on Freeport 7 that starts the whole shebang, sure, but there's also the fact that he is effectively shanghaied into the LSF in order to escape being stranded on Manhattan, which in turn results in he and Juni being identified as troublesome and targeted for elimination by the Pro-Rheinland[[spoiler:/Nomad-infected]] conspiracy via being framed.
* TheComputerIsACheatingBastard: the NPC versions of the flyable ships have infinite energy, so they can shoot forever. They are also equipped with a thruster that can be used for as long as it takes for Hell to freeze over. Also compare the ImprobableAimingSkills example somewhere below. Finally, if you take into consideration the single-player campaign, the following also count:
** Stock ships flown by {{NPC}}s are capable of mounting weapons with classes far higher than what the ships are able to mount. The biggest offenders are the [[spoiler:Nomad-controlled]] Liberty light fighter pilots, who mount Class-7 [[spoiler:Nomad Laser]] weapons on ships that can only mount up to Class-3 guns.
** Juni's ship is a modified Liberty heavy fighter that you cannot purchase. [[spoiler:She switches to an Order heavy fighter—the same one that you can purchase from Battleship Osiris and Planet Toledo—once you do likewise, however.]]
** Every Blood Dragon member, excluding Cobo and Lord Hakkera, flies a [[PaletteSwap recolored]] Kusari heavy fighter that you cannot purchase.
** See the PlotArmor example below.
** The only compensation the game provides for all of the above is that computer pilots are given shields with virtually no recharge rate, shield batteries and nanobots that they only use once in a blue moon, and [[ATeamFiring A Team-ish]] accuracy. As an additional note, several mods for ''Freelancer'' remove the privileges and disadvantages the AI has over the player, thus averting this trope completely.
* [[spoiler:CosmicHorrorStory]]: While it doesn't have a lot of the atmosphere that much of this genre has, the shades are clear enough if you stop to think about it for very long, namely that [[spoiler:a race of Alien shapeshifters of nigh-incalculable age and possibly power are slowly plotting to destroy humanity by body-jacking various humans- a process that said humans *hopefully* don't survive- within the houses and pitting them against each other, and who might be responsible for the destruction of pretty much the entire Sol System. And that's just the Nomads. Now imagine what their creators, the Daam K'Vosh, might be like...]]
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: Some corporations are run by these guys.
** As you learn through the Blood Dragons or 4/5 of most Kusari's belligerents, Kusari's ''entire government'' is this, essentially [[spoiler: run by Samura, and to a lesser extent, Kishiro. This also happens to be the reason the Blood Dragons fight.]]
* CrapsackWorld: Oh where to begin?
** Liberty is an ultra-capitalistic, where the needs of the rich are catered to by prison (read: slave) labor. Oh, did I mention they privatized their police force so they can get more laborers to work in their sweatshop prisons? Even worse is the transition of Liberty's economy from heavy industry to information technology, which moved ''millions'' of workers into poverty, forcing most of these into piracy and crime.
** Bretonia is mired in Bureaucracy, and runs pretty much like you'd expect an era of unregulated Victorian industry would. Leeds is so polluted, that they have entire nebulae of ''smog''. Never mind that BMM, their primary resource extraction company, fed ''dog food'' to their workers so that they could save on their profit margin (look on Planet Leed's news for the story); which, mind you, is the whole reason why Leeds is filled with smog nebulae. Don't forget, their desire for resources has caused an entire ''terrorist'' movement in the form of the Mollys.
** Kusari is an insular, isolationist regime controlled by CorruptCorporateExecutives. Due to these meddling executives, the country is slowly turning into a government only by name, with Samura controlling most of the government. Even the criminals are not even free of corporate meddling. Samura motivates the Farmer's Alliance to attack Synth Foods on Kyushu, which involves attacking police forces along the way, which means Samura gets more shipbuilding contracts, and the government increases defense spending, which involves more business to Samura. There's also the FantasticSexism that caused the whole Golden Chrysanthemum movement. Just think about that for a second. Sexism ''so bad'' that a ''rebellion'' was formed.
** Rheinland is a bankrupt, fascist government, where the Chancellor essentially controls everything, with no checks on power. The Bundschuh are the leftist 'terrorists' that are trying to democratize Rheinland, with little to no success, culminating in an ineffectual rebellion that changes little to nothing. And the game ''loves'' to stress the bankrupt part of Rheinland. For starters, they lost a war that took 80 years to a ''corporation'', the Gas Miners Guild. This crashes Rheinland's economy for ''centuries'', and almost decimates the country, making Rheinland the ButtMonkey of the Houses for said amount of time. On top of that, Liberty, with its capitalist tendencies, loans money to Rheinland it knows it cannot pay back. This causes an ''entire planet'' to be forked over to Synth Foods, in order to repay the debt. When this happens, the LWB forms, causing more crime in the sector, not to mention that they're plagued all sorts of disgruntled workers-turned-pirates (The Unioners, the Red Hessians, and the LWB).
* CursedWithAwesome: The Outcasts, and to some degree all Cardamine addicts. Withdrawal may be fatal, but the drug itself actually extends lifespans. It's unclear whether the governments are simply unaware of this fact, or covering it up as they spend both money and lives combating the Cardamine trade.
** Or that they judge such a benefit to not be worth the cost, given the risks Cardamine poses to society and the ecosystems humanity depends on.
* DeadlyDecadentCourt: Everybody has this to some (usually minor) degree, but Kusari has this in spades.
* DeadpanSnarker: A few, but mostly Juni.
--> ''"And from such humble beginnings, your head grew to its present size?"''
* [[DecoyLeader Decoy Big Bad]]: The Order[[spoiler:, Governor Tekagi, Chancellor Niemann ... pretty much everybody except the Nomads]].
* DerelictGraveyard: There are a number of debris fields, some of which contain rotting hulks of old stations or ships.
* DestroyableItems: Loot from destroyed ships can be blasted (although there's no real reason to do so), or destroyed by being rammed too many times. [[GameOver Even the few mission-critical ones]] like Ashcroft's [[EscapePod lifepod]].
* DickDastardlyStopsToCheat: Near the end of your starfighter race against Dexter Hovis, he pulls over to activate some weapons turrets. (The cleaner you race--i.e. the less you bump Hovis during the race--the less time the turrets will be active.) This gives you the opportunity to pass him if you're behind, and basically counts as a forfeit if you've somehow gotten ahead.
* DistantPrologue: The opening video happens 800 years before the game, picking up where ''[=StarLancer=]'' left.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: Rheinland are first to be [[spoiler: compromised by the evil aliens]], soon followed by the Kusari.
** Some of the descendants of the ''Hispania'' blame the Americans for [[spoiler: sabotaging their ship]], although there is no proof of that whatsoever. Others blame the ''other'' faction from the ''Hispania'' for it, again with no evidence.
** The "Mollys" fight Bretonia to free the Dublin system.
** The Gaians are pretty much a radical DarkerAndEdgier Greenpeace ... [[RecycledINSPACE IN SPACE]].
** The Corsairs are Spanish pirates/privateers (with a dash of Ottoman/Barbary corsair thrown in for flavor) while the Outcasts are South American drug lords.
** The Blood Dragons are the [[{{Ronin}} former royal guards and advisors]] of the previous ruling shogun who was dethroned and DrivenToSuicide by some [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Corrupt Corporate Executives]]. Perhaps reminding you of 'Film/TheLastSamurai''.
** The Hogosha is well, [[{{Yakuza}} you know, an old and well-respected legitimate institution]].
** [[ImperialGermany The old Rheinland Empire]] suffered [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarOne a crushing military defeat]] that plunged the house headfirst into a democracy it did not particularly want, coupled with abject chaos, political violence, and economic collapse which eventually gave way to a [[ThoseWackyNazis new, militaristic, and expansionist order which now threatens to destabilize Sirius]].
* DudeWheresMyRespect: Even after you pretty much single-handedly [[spoiler:saved the {{verse}} from the Nomads]], you still have enemies in every sector, and are still considered an acceptable piracy target. At least the jobs you're given aren't too demeaning (indeed, being asked to take out an entire Corsair base all by your lonesome could actually be considered a compliment to your OneManArmy status).
** You actually get an example of this from ''yourself''. Your journal speaks in awe of Herr von Claussen, an ace who has scored over 500 kills and never lost a wingman. By that point a typical player's kill count is in the mid-400s, and due to GameplayAllyImmortality ''you've'' never lost a wingman either!
* DugTooDeep: It all starts about three months before the destruction of Freeport Seven, with Rheinland explorers setting down on the wrong [[SealedEvilInACan planet]].
** Also, the asteroid fields in New London were formerly mined but were hastily abandoned when the mining operations released pockets of explosive gas.
* DummiedOut: Order and Interspace Commerce ships never spawn randomly despite the game containing voice files meant for use by these factions. The player only sees Order vessels during the singleplayer campaign, while Interspace Commerce vessels only spawn if the player accepts specific missions from that faction.
* [[spoiler:DurableDeathtrap: The ''entire Nomad species'' was created by the [[{{Precursors}} Dom']][[SufficientlyAdvancedAlien Kavosh]] as a colossal deathtrap for anyone attempting to colonize the Sirius sector.]]
* EldritchLocation: By the end-game, you're so used to the scale of the various planets [[spoiler: that the Nomad Dyson Sphere just seems impossibly huge and alien, especially given that you pass another planet on the way in!]]
* [[spoiler:EldritchAbomination]]: More or less what [[spoiler:the Nomads]] and likely [[spoiler:the Dom'Ka'Vosh are]] according to WordOfGod.
* EmbarrassingFirstName: Edison Trent. He usually just introduces himself by his surname.
* TheEmpire: [[{{Kaiserreich}} Rheinland]] flirted with this in the backstory, and by the game's time has graduated right to it. [[spoiler: Though [[PuppeteerParasite that's not entirely their fault.]]]]
* EnemyChatter: ''So'' much of it. Here are some examples of combat chatter:
--> ''"Scanner's showing new enemy targets. Engage! '''Engage!'''"''
--> ''"I'm engaging ."''
--> ''"I've got a visual on the enemy. Target is primed and I'm ready."''
--> ''"This jerk is actually engaging me!"''
--> ''"What the Hell? I just lost one of my men!"''
--> ''"Picking up some fool on my six."''
--> ''"Got a visual on bogey, dropping the hammer!"''
--> ''"Bandit has me in his sights, he's hitting me!"''
--> ''"I hear something ... ... ... [[OhCrap COOLANT LEA-]] '''*STATIC*'''"''
--> ''"All systems have failed! Losing power!"''
--> ''"[[CaptainObvious I'M BLOOOOOWING UP-]]"''
* EnemyMine: The [[spoiler:Lane Hackers]]. Specifically, [[spoiler:the enemies of Liberty are their friends]].
** In another mission, you fly with a pair of Rheinland deserters as your wingmen, because you need them to assist you against the Rheinland Military as much as they need you to defect to Bretonia safely.
** To a smaller extent, nearly all factions think ''very slightly'' more favorably of you if you hurt their enemies (for instance, the Bounty Hunters' Guild softens up to you just a little bit when you take out criminals).
** If two opposing factions share a common enemy, and all three factions so happen to be in the same place at the same time, the opposing factions will team up to destroy their common enemy before settling their own differences. This can lead to some humorous incidents in {{Game Mod}}s such as Discovery where, for instance, The Order would ''[[WhatTheHellHero team up with the Nomads]]'' [[EnemyMine to destroy a Bounty Hunter ship]].
* EscortMission: Many of the single-player campaign missions involve you escorting a transport or individual from point A to point B.
* ETGaveUsWiFi: It is hinted at through several in-game rumors that one of the main reasons why Liberty expanded faster than any of the other Houses was because the semiconductors they manufacture—a vital component in trade lanes and jump gates—are powered by alien technology.
* ExecutiveMeddling: Many of Digital Anvil's projects were killed when they were bought by Microsoft, because MS wanted them to focus more exclusively on Freelancer. The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7z2U-w53Tk original opening trailer]] was also significantly altered, removing the scene in which [[spoiler:[[StarfishAliens the Nomads]] blow up Sol some time after the Alliance's Colony Ships warped to Sirius.]]
* ExpositionFairy: King, Juni, Lord Hakkera and Von Claussen are this at different points throughout the singleplayer campaign, but ''especially'' Juni. [[StopHelpingMe "We have to go faster!"]]
** Even funnier if you're actually ''outrunning'' her.
* FantasticDrug: Cardamine. Incredibly addictive but without a tolerance build-up, [[spoiler:it modifies users' genes over long-term use, which grants them a longer lifespan, sharply reduced reproduction rate and the inability to survive without it; Outcasts landed on the planet where the chemical was in almost everything, and so all of them have this dependence, which is why they wear breathers in a normal atmosphere]]. Since it's basically a means for SpacePirates to control those who get hooked on it, it is contraband in the Houses ([[spoiler:but that doesn't stop the corporations from trying to come up with a synthetic version, possibly in an attempt to deprive the Outcasts of their primary source of income and feed those who are already affected]]).
* FantasyCounterpartCulture: {{Averted}}, as they are actually descended from modern Earth nations. Liberty is the USA, Bretonia is the UK, Rheinland is Germany, Kusari is Japan, and the Corsairs and Outcasts seem to be Spain and Latin America.
* TheFederation: All the houses, to some extent, but ''especially'' [[{{Eagleland}} Liberty]].
** Except for possibly [[TheEmpire Rheinland]] during the story mode. [[spoiler: Though The Nomads made them do it, and they get better after.]]
* FightMagnet: If you enter an area within scanner range of a battle between a faction you are hostile to and a faction they are hostile to, expect the furball to advance gradually in your general direction.
* ForgottenPhlebotinum: Portable warp-engines for fighters and capital ships? What are those? What do you mean they were widely used for tactical purposes during the Coalition/Alliance war? I never heard of what you're talking about.
** Of course not, we have cruise engines instead [[SciFiWritersHaveNoSenseOfScale that get you around inside a star system]] [[AcceptableBreaksFromReality just fine anyway]].
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Oh so very, very much. Certain bar conversations in particular are fairly upfront, but special mention must go to one of the logs Trent has when the game starts, where he mentions the other Freeport 7 survivors talking about who could be behind it. [[spoiler:Literally every theory they have about ''everyone'' except The Order is ''dead true.'']]
** During game installation, a little slideshow will play, telling the player-to-be about various planets presented in the game's universe, with [[spoiler:Rheinland's space theme]] playing in the background.
* FutureFoodIsArtificial: The Synth Food Paste; although nobody says it's nasty or disgusting, it did manage to sprout several farmer rebellions fighting for their right to grow their own organic crops.
** The rebellion in Rheinland is more related to the ''methods'' of the company that produces Synth Food. [[spoiler:A Rheinlander NPC accuses the company of crippling the economic livelihoods of farmers by taking down food costs and dumping chemicals into the soil and atmosphere, all as a means to cripple the survivors of Rheinland's economic collapse.]] The rebellion in Kusari, on the other hand, is financed by Samura Industries in order to suppress competition from foreign companies.
* GameMod: Plenty of them, some quite good. A few more notable examples include:
** [[http://discoveryfl.com/ Discovery]]: One of the biggest mods, which focuses mostly on multiplayer and roleplaying. It advances the main storyline with every new update and of course adds more ships, weapons, factions and systems.
** [[http://www.moddb.com/mods/crossfire Crossfire]]: A mod that adds many new ships and features.
** [[http://www.freeworlds-tow.net/ Freeworlds]]: A Star Wars total conversion.
* GameplayAllyImmortality: Important allies (at least [[NominalImportance the ones you know]], like Juni, King and Herr von Claussen) can lose all shields and up to 90% hull integrity, but they cannot die.
* GameplayAndStorySegregation: Plenty of it, but most notably are the different house ships. The four [[spoiler: five, including the "lost" house of Hispania"]]houses are told in game as being near-equals in terms of military prowess. Even more jarring in this aspect, is a rumor that one can read in any Libertonian bar, which states that Liberty is in a constant state of readiness, and is able to fight two houses at once, on different fronts. However, the ships you find in Liberty are far inferior to those you find in Rheinland, to say nothing of designs found in the [[spoiler: Edge Worlds/Hispania]]. Kinda makes you wonder how Liberty holds its lands from the other Houses, when there are Space!Pirates with better ships than theirs. Of course, this is justified, as the campaign progresses linearly through the four houses, and having such a good ship from the start would be a serious {{DiscOneNuke}}.
* GoMadFromTheIsolation: Zoners in Tau-37 are mentioned to be suffering from this, which is odd. While Tau-37 is fairly distant, it is hardly the most isolated location in the game and has a good connection to the core worlds. By comparison, Freeport 7 was in a much more hostile and isolated part of space.
* GondorCallsForAid: What the merry band of heroes are usually forced to do.
* GratuitousJapanese: Kusari is full of this. The Japanese written on the signs often makes little sense, "Tekagi" is often pronounced "Takagi", some NPC's greet Trent as a "gai'''jeen'''", and the Japanese "r" sound is usually just missing, among other things. The GratuitousGerman in Rheinland is only a little more passable.
* TheGroup: The Order. [[spoiler:Subverted, as they're actually good guys fighting off an alien invasion in the shadows.]]
* GunsAkimbo: While shooting the [[spoiler:Chancellor]] Trent does this because [[spoiler:the Nomad controlling the former was ''centimetres'' away from taking control of Liberty President Jacobi]]. That, combined with RuleOfCool and the mission being a life-or-death one.
* GunshipRescue: Captain Marcus Walker flies in on a cruiser to save you and Juni during the initial flight from Liberty. This is [[OvershadowedByAwesome overshadowed]] in the later stages of the single-player campaign by [[spoiler:the Battleship ''Osiris'' de-cloaking right in the middle of two separate firefights and single-handedly blasting the stuffing out of everything attacking you and your allies while you dock with it]].
* HammerspacePoliceForce
* HardCodedHostility: There is only one faction in the game that can't be negotiated with, or bribed into liking you, under any circumstances: [[spoiler:The Nomads. Since they are also the only non-human faction, and their only known goal is wiping out the humans who've invaded the Sirius sector, this is {{justified}}.]]
* HeroOfAnotherStory: Outcasts-related rumors will frequently mention someone called Santiago Llorenz. Apparently he is an AcePilot working for one of the main cartels. You can find stories of his exploits and discover that he is working on infiltrating the Cryer Pharmaceutical research station in the Sigma systems to free Outcasts held captive there.
* HeroicSacrifice: Can be read on the occasional report in the Colony News Service. Also happens several times during the single-player campaign.
* HighSpeedMissileDodge: Missiles can be evaded if the target uses afterburners and kills engines. Averted with [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Cruise Disruptor]] missiles, however, as they travel ''much'' faster than cruise speed, which is the maximum possible velocity any ship in the game can reach.
* HomeFieldAdvantage: The Gas Mining Guild's main strategy in the 80 Years War was to lure the Rheinlanders into the Crow Nebula (the GMG's home turf), and then use their detailed knowledge thereof to [[GeoEffects trick them into explosive gas pockets and radiation fields]] and so on.
* HundredPercentHeroismRating: A faction with which you are Friendly will aid you in fights against factions they are Neutral towards, and won't attack you if you pick a fight with their allies.
** Of course, if you pick [[BloodKnight too many]] fights with their allies, they will eventually stop ''being'' Friendly.
* HyperspaceArsenal: Your cargo bay, ammo, [[HealingPotion nanobots]] and [[BottledHeroicResolve shield batteries]] are strictly limited, but you have infinite storage for spare weapons and extra equipment.
** From how small the areas around the docking ports of stations are, the docking bays must have to partially exist in Hammerspace to accommodate all of the fighters and transports that dock with them.
* HyperspaceLanes: The trade lanes.
* ImprobableAimingSkills: The AI knows how to shoot missiles, and that speaks volumes in a game that makes it difficult for the ''player'' to use any missile, save cruise disruptors, effectively.
* InfinityPlusOneSword: The Class-10 CODENAME guns, the Paralyser Missile Launcher and the [[spoiler:Nomad guns]]. The CODENAME guns out-damage every other gun in the game, the Paralyzer Missile does the most shield damage out of any missile, and [[spoiler:the Nomad guns consume no energy at all when fired, while delivering damage rates between Class-9 and Class-10 guns, so they can be fired forever]]. The catch? You can't buy them; you can only loot them from hidden wrecks typically found in the most dangerous parts of the Sirius Sector, such as [[spoiler:the incredibly radioactive Von Rohe Belt in Omega-11, or the Nomad-infested portion of the Siniestre Cloud in Omicron Alpha, which is also radioactive. You can only get the Nomad guns by destroying the Nomads that randomly spawn near jump holes to Nomad-infested systems; they are some of the most dangerous enemies in the game.]]
* InfinityMinusOneSword: Class-8 and 9 guns, because they can be bought from some planets and stations, unlike Class-10 guns, which can only be looted from wrecks found in dangerous places. Also pulse cannons in general, because they do more shield damage than other gun types.
* InvisibleAliens: There are alien artifacts, and [[spoiler:the game's storyline is orchestrated by sentient parasitic aliens believed to be created by the aliens who created said artifacts to protect Sirius from unauthorized trespassing]].
* ItsUpToYou: NPC's you escort insist on docking with trade lanes, etc. after you. In the single-player mode, [[FightMagnet enemy fire tends to concentrate more on you]] (which is for the better, considering the numerous {{Escort Mission}}s).
* JustAStupidAccent: People in Rheinland and Kusari seem to speak English, respectively, with a strong German and Japanese accent.
* LargeHam: Tobias seems to monopolize pork products among major characters in this game.
* LawEnforcementInc: The Liberty Police are a private corporation who fund their operations with consumer goods produced by prison labor.
* LevelLockedLoot: Ship, shield and weapon purchases are level-locked, and the shields and weapons can only be mounted on ships with hardpoints that can accommodate the same class number or higher.
* LinkedListClueMethodology: Pretty much the entire plot.
* ALongTimeAgoInAGalaxyFarFarAway: The opening movie makes it clear that Humanity comes from the Earth, the place names refer to actual locations on Earth, etc. Yet, [[InsignificantLittleBluePlanet Planet Earth is never mentioned in the entire game]]. A cut version of the intro shows that the original storyline had [[spoiler:the Earth destroyed by aliens.]]
* MacGuffin: The alien artifact. For 90% of the game, what it is or does has no real bearing on the plot.
* TheMissingFaction: House Hispania, [[spoiler:better known as the Outcasts and the Corsairs]].
* MissionControl: Literally. You'll be dealing with them quite a lot when doing certain mission types.
* {{Mordor}}/PollutedWasteland: Planet Leeds is an industrial hell, while Planet Houston is a penal colony.
** And it doesn't stop there. Planet Chisos, one of many planets you can't land on, is a world of burning days and freezing nights, which has what looks like volcanic fissures. Planet Schutz is a volcanic world that is being melted by the dying red giant it orbits.
* MoreDakka: ''All'' of the Liberty Rogue guns sacrifice damage and energy efficiency for extremely high refire rates. To a smaller extent, Liberty, Kusari, the Blood Dragons, The Order and the Bounty Hunters Guild also manufacture such weapons, although they also make heavier and slower-firing weapons in tandem.
* MuggingTheMonster: Crooks keep ambushing you or demanding that you drop your cargo even when your kill count is [[OneManArmy in the thousands]] ''and'' their ship is the wimpiest in the game. Also, there's a place in the Corsair home system where young pilots go for the final trial. This area contains [[BigBad Nomads]], who enter through a Jump Hole from the Unknown systems. It's called the [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyfast Graveyard of the Innocents]].
* {{Nanomachines}}: The Nanobots that instantly repair your hull in case it gets wrecked. They don't do anything for ''you'', though.
* NGOSuperpower: The GMG fought an eighty-year-long war with Rheinland and ''won'' with some assistance from Kusari and [[GeoEffects utilising their knowledge of the Crow Nebula to their advantage]], causing Rheinland to lose more ships to the nebula than to them.
** The Corsairs and the Outcasts are subversions. Both are massive forces of pirates and privateers engaged in all manner of illegal activity and skirmishes with lawful authorities ... when they're in the colonies. They both have governments and entire ''home planets'' back in the remote Omicron systems, of which they are fiercely protective. While no House will recognize them as legitimate for obvious reasons, their governments do exist.
* NoHeroDiscount: ''Massively'' averted with [[spoiler:Order]] equipment--you can buy an entire fitted-out heavy fighter from them for about $2000, which is about what your very first ship cost just for the hull.
* NoHuggingNoKissing: The plot makes it very clear that Trent and Juni will always be just friends.
* NoodleIncident: Trent and King have one each to their name. Part of the reason why Trent left Bretonia in the first place was because he ''somehow'' managed to annoy the entire Bretonian government. As for King, he apparently botched a capture attempt by accidentally killing the target sometime before the third mission of the singleplayer campaign; it is only mentioned ''once'' by Juni, near the end of said mission, and was never brought up again for the rest of the campaign.
* NoOSHACompliance: The launch pads of many bases and planets seem to be somewhat lacking in safety barriers. Kusari and Bretonian battleships are examples of the few aversions to this trope, whereas Liberty-constructed battleships are examples of the game taking this trope UpToEleven.
** In-universe, Bretonia Mining and Manufacturing is infamous for this. One of the news releases about them mentions them giving ''animal feed'' as rations for their Leeds workers, and saying that [[CrossesTheLineTwice they thought it would be okay because the pollution on Leeds would have killed their senses of taste and smell anyway]]. That last bit might be true, considering that BMM's operations on Leeds have generated ''entire [[SpaceClouds nebulae]]'' of smog. One IMG rep comments that BMM will "work you to an early death and then dock your pay for sleeping on the job when you keel over".
* NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent: Trent is ostensibly Bretonian, and his father-figure Tobias has a rather prominent British accent, but Trent himself sounds American.
** Many [=NPCs=] don't really speak in the accent of the place they're from. This is only strange because some of them ''do''.
** Herr von Claussen. He speaks with a distinctly French accent, despite that fact that (a) he's from Rheinland, (b) his only real foreign contact is Lord Hakkera from Kusari, and (c) France was utterly annihilated in the Coalition-Alliance war.
* OldSchoolDogfight: Forced by making the missiles highly avoidable and thus pretty much useless.
** On the other hand, there is nothing quite more satisfying like scoring a one-two punch with an EMP/anti-shield missile followed by an anti-hull missile.
** [[ImprobableAimingSkills The AI appears to use them much better, though.]]
** Missiles can be formidable weapons when "jousting" if one knows how to use them. [[spoiler:The likelihood of a missile hitting the target is almost guaranteed if you fire it at short distances from the enemy during a head-on pass. [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill It's also a viable tactic with ''torpedoes''; just don't get caught inside the blast radius.]]]]
* OneManArmy: Herr von Klaussen has 500 kills to his name ... and by the time you meet him, you should be somewhere near his kill count as well, with at least one additional ''battleship kill'' to your name.
* TheOnlyOne: Once you reach the second half, it's not rare to take out entire fleets by yourself after all your partners have been pummeled.
* OneWorldOrder: To some degree; there are no "planet countries", but there are "planet towns", and these states are part of a "system state", which is in turn part of a system-spanning country.
* OutrunTheFireball: In the single player campaign, any station Trent sets foot on has roughly a two-thirds chance of being blown up within two minutes, so he becomes a professional at this.
** Then again, one station had the courtesy of not exploding until the player decided to take off, giving plenty of time to repair, purchase some gear (despite the station being abandoned), save the game or even take a short break.
** Here a list of the places that blew up after Trent set foot on it: [[spoiler:Freeport 7, Benford Research Station, the Planet Sprague dig site and Docking Ring, Baxter Research Station, Tekagi's Arch and Planet Toledo]]. Crikey.
* PassThroughTheRings: The [[spoiler:race with Dexter Hovis]].
* [[PinnedToTheWall Pinned To The Chair]]: How Ozu dies.
* PlanetOfHats: Nearly everyone on Malta (the Outcast homeworld) is involved with the Cardamine trade in some way. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] by the fact that the Cardamine trade is so profitable for the Outcasts that even field hands on Malta can live in luxury.
* PlanetVille: The planets are even ''named'' after cities or regions.
* PlayableEpilogue: The game, while technically a WideOpenSandbox, spends most of its story mode with you trapped in the current area, either by the SortingAlgorithmOfEvil ahead and [[PersonaNonGrata burned bridges]] behind, or later by unskippable missions into storyline-only systems. After you finish the storyline, however, the game becomes a true WideOpenSandbox.
* PlotArmor: The more prominent {{NPC}}s, such as Juni, King, Cobo and Lord Hakkera, usually become invincible once the hull rating of their ship drops to 10% during a mission.
* PortalNetwork: Jump gates and jump holes allow any ship that activates them to travel across entire star systems within a few seconds.
* PortTown: A lot of staging areas within missions.
* PreAssKickingOneLiner: Trent not so much, but the enemies in non-storyline missions occasionally break these out. It's almost, but not quite, intimidating.
--> ''"When I'm done with you there won't be anything left to ID!"''
--> ''"I'm going to use what's left of you to grease my ship!"''
--> ''"Mess with the viper, and you'll get the fangs!"''
** Herr Von Claussen also does this. Twice, and the second time to the Nomads.
--> ''"And still he attacks! Rheinlander, don't you see? Today you will die."''
--> ''"For every spirit there's a proper place in Hell!"''
* PuppeteerParasite: [[spoiler: The Nomads]]
* RammingAlwaysWorks: Averted, since most collisions only do ScratchDamage. However, apparently Klaus Botzler had a epic success with this as he [[spoiler:[[TakingYouWithMe took out an entire fleet of Nomad Battleships in drydock]]]].
* RandomlyDrops: ''Everything''. Metal debris, consumables, thrusters, fuel, ammunition, cargo, and even weapons. In fact, weapons [[TractorBeam tractored in]] [[KleptomaniacHero from enemy wreckage]] might make up a combat-based player's entire arsenal. Averted with shield generators, as the ones that NPC use are scaled-down versions of what the player can buy and is expected to use.
* RedHerring: You get bad intelligence more than once in the single-player campaign, which imposes some feeling of urgency (an element good to have in a game where you can take your jolly time lolly-gagging around between most of the missions). On the other hand, intelligence tends to be pretty accurate as long as they harp about you possibly encountering enemies.
** And in some missions, you don't even get intel from the get-go. That being justified because at those points there is no intel to rely on because you're not with an organization to provide any.
* LaResistance: Most prominently, [[spoiler: The Blood Dragons and the Order]], although there are several other groups in the game which fit the description, such as the Bundschuh in Rheinland and possibly the Lane Hackers in Liberty.
* SayMyName: ''All over the place'' in the singleplayer campaign.
--> '''Juni:''' ''"And this must be-"''\\
'''Lord Hakkera:''' ''"'''HERR VON CLAUSSEN!''' You are here at last! Do you have the plans?"''
* ScavengerWorld: The Junkers. This faction thrives on and cleans up the waste left behind by the Houses during the foundation of their infrastructure (including some mishaps) and while the House authorities acknowledge this, the Junkers are not exactly liked either because their bases are [[WretchedHive safe havens for criminals]], thus resulting in the House authorities having to deal with more pirates.
* SceneryPorn: The gorgeous backgrounds more than make up for the otherwise lackluster graphics.
* ScifiWritersHaveNoSenseOfScale: If you [[FridgeLogic really think about it]], the planets (even gas giants and moons) all seem to be about 5 km across, and space stations can exceed one km. Also, the suns are smaller than the planets, and the solar systems seem to be about 100 to 150 km across. The excuse that the units of measurement are clearly resized only gets you so far.
* SecretLevel: There are two 'Unknown' jumpholes, one in [[spoiler:Omicron Alpha]] and one in [[spoiler:Omicron Gamma]]. They each lead to systems [[spoiler:where you are besieged by endless waves of Nomads]]. The one connecting to [[spoiler:Omicron Alpha]] is heavily radioactive, features a background that could fit SceneryPorn and a dust ring around the single star but is other devoid of any objects. The other system, connecting to [[spoiler:Omicron Gamma]], features a background that resembles a warp tunnel, a star that you can fly into without getting killed and two planets that you can dock with.
** Also try hanging around in the debris field and shooting up some more pirates in [[spoiler:the very first singleplayer mission, after King and the transports leave via Trade Lane]]. When you get back to King, he praises you for doing well and gives you a bit more cash for doing so.
* SingleBiomePlanet: Many of the planets in the game are like this, with what is basically a single hue defining their habitat types. Planet Leeds, for instance, or Planet Junyo. Most of the others are [[AllPlanetsAreEarthlike fairly Earthlike]], exemplified above.
* SpaceCompression: And how!
* SpaceFlecks
* [[SortingAlgorithmOfWeaponEffectiveness Sorting Algorithm Of Ship Effectiveness]]: The various ships in Freelancer are usable at certain player levels. The individual ships get stronger and capable of carrying more (and better) equipment as the player's level increases, which corresponds roughly to the order in which the story focuses on various colonies (Liberty, [[spoiler: Bretonia, Kusari, Rheinland]], with Civilian/Border World/Pirate-built ships scaling all the way to the top tier).
** This leads to some '''serious''' FridgeLogic when one realizes that Liberty military ships are some of the ''weakest'' in the entire game and the Liberty-made end-game ''civilian'' fighters (like the Eagle) hopelessly outclass them in every way.
*** Most notably, the Liberty Cruiser's main gun - which in cut-scenes can destroy battleships and space stations in seconds - is surpassed by the guns you can buy for your fighter a few levels later.
* SpaceClouds: There are numerous nebulas that the player can travel through. One system even has a light blue nebula enveloping the entire system, looking like a ''bright, sunny day'' on Earth.
* SpaceFriction: You have a top speed for engines, a top speed for afterburners, and a top speed for cruising. Inertia somehow remains nearly constant (though a little SpaceFriction creeps on it) when you kill your engines, though. You are not expected to understand this.
* SpaceIsAnOcean
* SpacePirates: All over the place. Some are more piratey, and some are more radical than criminal.
** The Lane Hackers and Liberty Rogues are your standard [[TheRustler western style highwaymen]].
** The Corsairs are something like [[{{Bandito}} Spanish privateers]].
** The Xenos, are more of [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin xenophobic terrorists]] than pirates.
** The Outcasts are technically smugglers, though they do some piracy once in a while.
** The Bundschuh, Blood Dragons, Golden Chrysanthemum, and Mollys are rebels to their respective governments and not so much pirates, and thus appropriately labelled as Terrorists.
** The Red Hessians and Farmer's Alliance are not so much pirates as really viciously competitive.
*** The Red Hessians ''were'' ideologically-motivated rebels/terrorists, but have since degenerated to being common criminals; the Farmers' Alliance - whatever they may ''think'' they are fighting for, are probably just pawns of Samura.
* SpacePolice: Each house has its own law enforcement forces, and there's also the Liberty Security Forces, kinda like the [[RecycledInSpace Space FBI]].
* SprintMeter: The afterburners. Sometimes the only thing between you and a quick and painful death. Their momentum can be abused in different ways, including making your missiles move faster.
* StealthInSpace: Mostly used by Rheinland's ships, albeit only in the campaign.
* [[SuckingInLines Sucking In Particles]]: Cruise engines do this when they are charging. One of the first tell-tale signs that the ship's pilot is about to wing it.
* SufficientlyAdvancedAlien: The [[spoiler:Dom'Kavosh]] are explicitly identified as this by WordOfGod.
* SuicidalOverconfidence: Enemy ships will attempt to flee, with appropriate EnemyChatter ([[spoiler:Nomads]] excluded), if your cash-based level and equipment is vastly higher than theirs, they are outnumbered by about five to one, they have no more weapons, and/or they have their armor rating reduced to 1%. Most of the time, however, they will fight to the death.
--> ''"I'm not engaging. They're just too tough right now."''
--> ''"Breaking off attack. They've got too much going for them."''
--> ''"I'm out of here. My weapons are all gone!"''
* TacticalRockPaperScissors: Shield types versus gun types. There are three shield types and seven gun types. Each shield type will reduce damage from two or three different gun types, while increasing damage from two or three of the other gun types. None of the shield types share a common resistance or weakness[[note]]Except for pulse cannons, which are designed specifically to take down shields and are so very, very good at it that the shield type doesn't matter[[/note]]. [[spoiler:The eighth gun type, consisting of the NPC-restricted Nomad Laser, as well as Nomad Energy Blasters and Nomad Energy Cannons salvaged from Nomads loitering in Omicron Alpha, Omicron Gamma and the two Unknown systems, are the only weapons that avert this trope completely.]]
* TakeYourTime: Invoked whenever a single-player mission dialog has a "Decline" button.
* ATankardOfMooseUrine: Liberty Ale. Rumor has it it's made from H-fuel byproducts.
* TimedMission: [[spoiler:The Nomad power core mission.]]
* ThemeNaming: Most planets and locations are named after actual locations on Earth.
* TruceZone: The Freeports
** In a minor example, Junker bases, though they only apply to criminals (except for the Xenos).
** This does not, however, prevent rival factions from opening fire on each other (and ''you'') outside the base.
* TwoDSpace: Everything, and that is ''everything'', is within the same plane.
** Except one star in one of the Tau systems and another in one of the Unknown systems.
* [[UniversalDriversLicense Universal Pilot's License]]: Flying a freighter is undoubtedly very different from flying a [[SpaceFighter Heavy Fighter]], and the different houses probably have [[DrivingStick different control schemes]] for their ships, but [[TheHero Trent]] has no problem flying anything you buy for him.
* UsedFuture: Very.
* {{Vaporware}}: ''Freelancer'' was released 4 years after being announced for the first time, with many of the hyped-up features missing. However, the resulting game was still good enough to be enjoyable.
* VariableMix: If you hear a faster-paced version of the normal BGM, better ready your guns, or you'll get smoked!
* WarpWhistle: The Trade Lanes, the Jump Gates and the Jump Holes. They even make a whistling noise as you go through.
* TheWarSequence: Pretty much the entire second half of the storyline. A notable instance is Trent, Juni, and three Outcast pilots up against an entire Rheinland fleet at the mid-point of the game.
* WhamLine: Right in the middle of a [[LastStand losing battle]] with some Bounty Hunters during the single-player campaign.
--> ''"Bounty hunter ships! Cease fire! These two are under [[TheCavalry the protection]] of [[spoiler:[[TheRustler the Lane Hackers]]!]]"''
** Trent asking Colonel Kress who he works for.
-->[[spoiler:"The Order."]]
** Lord Hakkera telling Juni what happened to [[spoiler:Lieutenant Ozu]].
-->[[spoiler:"He was killed by a Nomad."]]
* YouShallNotPass: Quite a few times during the single-player campaign, and whenever this trope is invoked, a HeroicSacrifice usually follows. For instance, Lambda 4 and Lambda 5 drawing fire from West Point Military Academy and its reinforcements [[spoiler:during your flight from Liberty. Neither survived.]]